Protecting infants from viral infections may prevent the development of asthma late in childhood, according to new research in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI).
The study, “Early-life respiratory viral infections, atopic sensitization, and risk of subsequent development of persistent asthma,” conducted by Merci M.H. Kusel, MBBS, PhD, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, and colleagues, can be found in the articles in press area of the JACI Web site located at http://www.jacionline.org. The JACI is the peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).
Researchers studied 198 children at high risk of atopy, from birth to five years. All episodes of acute respiratory illness in the first year were recorded, and nasal aspirates were collected for viral identification. History of wheeze and asthma was collected annually, and atopy was assessed at six months, two years and five years.
This research suggests that viral respiratory infections (most commonly rhinovirus and respiratory syncytial virus) interact with atopy in infancy to promote the later development of asthma. The occurrence of a lower respiratory tract infection in an atopic child during early infancy is associated with maximal risk for subsequent asthma.
The AAAAI represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic disease. Allergy/immunology specialists are pediatric or internal medicine physicians who have elected an additional two years of training to become specialized in the treatment of asthma, allergy and immunologic disease. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has more than 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries. The AAAAI serves as an advocate to the public by providing educational information through its Web site at